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Friday August 25th 2006

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If you're in the mood for some humour. Here is something... Breaking News! Astronomers Declare Earth 'Not a Planet'

Before and After Pluto

Dear Friends, Far and Near:

Today may be an historic day, when the International Astronomical Union, a group including some of the world's leading astronomers, decides whether it thinks Pluto should be called a planet. This will not really affect the lives of astrologers or of astronomers, for whom Pluto is here to stay; rather it is largely a cultural issue: do we pay full respect to Pluto, the idea?

For better or worse, this question is hitched to the astronomical issue of whether many other orbiting bodies similar to Pluto should be considered planets, and this is making the situation much more complicated. If Pluto is a planet, we could end up with 50 planets right away. But in truth, this reflects the reality of a solar system that most people are waking up to the fact that it has several hundred thousand orbiting bodies -- not nine. We will, possibly know by the time you're reading this, the outcome of this discussion, about which I'll have more to say in a moment.

First, an Astrology Secrets Revealed-related topic. After this week, I'll be taking the ASR project over to in a different form. The news-related functions that we handle here (doing the astrology of major breaking news events, which seem to happen fairly often on Thursdays, for some reason) will continue immediately in my daily blog (to find it, just Google the words astrology + blog). And the questions and answers will continue as Astrology Secrets Revealed on Planet Waves shortly after the Sept. 22 solar eclipse.

I began ASR here on just after the Venus transit of the Sun in the spring of 2004, when I was staying in London. We've published in this space continuously about 110 times (seems like 105 original editions, and five reruns of one kind or another). There have been some truly momentous editions, and the best of them have been in collaboration with you, my readers, and with various colleagues who have come up with some astonishing research. My favorite of all were the two editions we did in the summer of 2005 on the phenomenon of dams and levees breaking when Saturn reaches Leo (When the Molasses Levee Breaks). If anyone is looking for some form of proof that astrology works, check those out.

In all, we've published half a million words so far, responding to perhaps 300 to 400 questions, and the weeks have come on fast -- but not faster than the news, which spans the era including Bush's second stolen election, the tsunami, the New Orleans disaster, the majority of the war in Iraq, the London bombings in 2005, up to the supposed terrorism plot two weeks ago. Intense!

It's like the Sixties, minus the Beatles.

Then there were the personal questions, ranging from in-depth astrology questions to deeply sensitive matters such as suicide, relationships, sex, family matters, and how and whether to seek therapy. I have recommended that everyone read A General Theory of Love in at least 27 separate editions as a way of getting out of the woods. I mean it. This book will help you.

I would like to thank Jonathan Cainer for his enlightened and open-minded attitude, and for granting us this rather publicly accessible space to have the discussion for so many weeks. He is a broad-minded and fearless individual who always courageously puts free and open discussion of the real-life concerns of his readers over any other priorities.

The result of all this work, both yours and mine, and the many assistants who have helped out the past two years (about a dozen!), is that we have a wide-ranging collection of astrology writing, and I'm working with some close friends to sort that out into an "Astrology Secrets Revealed" series of books, including an astrology basics book, a minor planet book, and a collection of stories from astrology. With the hiatus and the new slower pace, I trust that will come together well.

Meanwhile, we've got you covered over at Planet Waves -- with my daily blog on astrology and the news, and Planet Waves Weekly. So come on over, bring your friends, sign up for a subscription and if you don't have the cash, we give comps to anyone who asks. In honor of Jerry Garcia and my Aquarius Moon, everyone is included.

Now let's return to the question of Pluto. I happen to have the chart for the vote on Friday. We do not, however, have the resolution itself; that is still being hammered out, though at the moment, it appears that astronomers will most likely vote yay or nay on an 8-planet solar system. The idea of a 12-planet system (including Ceres, Charon and Xena) was pretty much shot down last week, but I want to thank the members of the naming committee who had the open-minded attitude and foresight to recognize that we live in an expanding, highly diverse universe. Here is their photo.

Whether we get to have Ceres, Charon and Xena as planets or not, the whole discussion has called attention to them. I assure you that 100 times more people know what "Ceres" is than did last week.

Next, here is the chart for the vote.

Pluto Vote chart

This is a "stated time" chart for the beginning of the meeting. Obviously, we will understand this chart better after the results are in (which by now may have already hit the news wire) but this chart seems to be about the beginning of a discussion, not the end of one. I say this because it's right after the New Moon, so we have the beginning of a lunar cycle dominating the energy.

Also, as this chart develops, there is a lunar eclipse in two weeks and a solar eclipse two weeks after that. I really doubt that anything decided here is going to stick. This is a developing story.

What is interesting is that we have a Scorpio rising chart (Pluto rules Scorpio) and Mars, the other ruler of Scorpio, is in Virgo. Mars (which really represents Pluto in this chart, because Pluto is the subject of the discussion, and Mars is the first ruler of Scorpio) is about to square Pluto and cross the South Node. So the two rulers of Scorpio, both planets representing Pluto, meet in a square, and the square involves the South Node. Does that say anything to you? At minimum, a "profound transformation" (Pluto) and "letting go of the past" (South Node) based on "intense technicalities" (lots and lots of Virgo).

One striking thing about this chart is how dominated it is by both Leo (passion) and Virgo (technicality). Both are abundantly present. All the Leo stuff happens to be in the 1st house of the Pluto discovery chart. So Pluto has a lot of charisma right now, popular appeal and so on. But is that going to win the day?

I would not be surprised if Pluto is voted out of its planetary status. This won't make a bit of difference to astrologers -- we respect Pluto perhaps more than anyone. But it would be reflective of a gradual but definite trend in society toward wide-scale denial of what Pluto is about, in terms of its theme.

Pluto is what Pluto represents. It is not just a planet; it's an archetype, and one that is extremely active in the human story. When you check history going back 2,000 years, you see the Pluto cycles like you see the New York City skyline landing at JFK. That archetype inherently represents that which we tend to deny the most and what we need the most for both individual growth and evolution as a culture. But we seem to be in even deeper denial than usual these days, which is largely due to fear, and also that we're being confronted with so much change so fast, and so much manipulation.

Denying Pluto would be saying, in effect, that "it's okay to not deal with this stuff." We could, of course, find it in ourselves to be more outraged about war and torture, and the lying and conniving of our "leaders" that got us there. Instead, we tend to revel in images of war on television. Then in the United States, ever increasingly, like many places dominated by religion, we teach our children "abstinence" instead of teaching them about their feelings and their bodies. Hate and prejudice are open season; discussion of love and erotic subjects are still often felt to be taboo, scary and wicked, something not done in polite company. And we wonder why everything is so weird.

We also live in a time when the general trend is toward simplifying our perception of life rather than actually embracing the complexity of existence. Hence, many would like to have a nice, simple solar system with a nice even number of planets that would probably not expand for centuries, until something bigger than Mercury is discovered. All the rest would be put next to the door, on a cultural level. Many people think we need a solar system that's simple enough for the marketing department to handle. We can't have things called 2003 UB 313.

The very good news is that astrology has benefited greatly from the discussion of these other bodies orbiting the Sun (I call them planets, whatever anyone in Prague thinks). In attempting to deny certain archetypes of astronomical bodies their due, they have pushed them further into awareness. The debate itself is part of history. The discussion will be recorded in books, articles and on the internet, as permanently as these things are.

And if Pluto is a minor planet, well then, we had better look at some of the others. Xena and Sedna definitely mean something, and hey, Chiron, closely associated with Pluto, really needs a much closer look.

It would be so healthy to have 100 or more things honored as planets -- to accept the incredible diversity of the solar system. It would be just as great if we could endorse and affirm all things Plutonian encourage one another to keep an open discussion of sex going in the world. We could be better people for honest discussion of death. It would be very healthy for us to address all the material that Pluto offers, as individuals and as a culture -- and also that of the other planets, which describe many similar things as Pluto but each with its own feeling. It would be so excellent not to pretend we're something other than human, with all our feelings, needs and fears. Every planet deserves a home -- within us.

The discussion continues over at Planet Waves -- a bit of Lothlorien for you. See you there.

Yours & truly,
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Planet Waves Weekly is the only place online to get the weekly horoscope of Eric Francis, both emailed and posted to the Web on a subscriber homepage each Friday. Eric is now writing Parallel Worlds, the 2006 annual edition of Planet Waves with the year-ahead forecasts, available to all subscribers. As a subscriber, you can keep up with Eric's essays on astrological developments, chart reading techniques, Tarot cards, and world affairs. Experience Eric's unique perspective as an astrologer-investigative reporter. Read more than three years of archives of essays and horoscopes. We invite you to look around and become one of many satisfied readers of Eric's daring and innovative astrology journal.

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